Exclusive! We chat EE BAFTA Nominations, Skyfall Soundtrack and Life of Pi with David Arnold’s chin & sparkly tie

Posted by Craig Grobler on Google+ On Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In case you hadn’t heard last Sunday I was down at The Royal Opera House to see some of the world’s most talented people make their way up the red carpet for Great Britain’s most prestigious and premier talent awards the EE BAFTAs.

With everyone feeling the big freeze & rain and wanting to get indoors as quickly as possible most stars hurried up the carpet only stopping to chat with the major media players and with fans (some of whom had been camping out in the cold for 2 days to get a glimpse of the favourite actors or actresses) so we couldn’t really begrudge that us smaller guys were largely ignored as everyone wanted to get indoors as quickly as possible.

Well ignored by almost everyone apart from Mark Kermode who was more than happy to come over and chat with us, Mr George Clooney who didn’t stop to chat but pounded or shook hands with almost everyone on the press line on his way in and Mr David Arnold who stopped for a quick chat and joke (mainly aimed at me).


David Arnold is possibly most well known for being a brilliant film composer, a Grammy Award winning producer, the Bond composer, Musical Director of the 2012 Olympic Games, Producer of Dame Shirley Bassey’s 2009 comeback album The Performance, Charity Ambassador or the funny bloke off Twitter @DavidGArnold

Despite being very eager to chat with Mr Arnold for like forever, trading tweets, facebook messages and occasionally seeing him out and about in London at events I  never felt the occasion right to bend his ear, he always seems to arrive early and leave first.

You see I have been a fan of David Arnold’s work since I first heard it. Back in 1993 he created the soundtrack for his friend Danny Cannon’s film The Young Americans. The final credits song - Play Dead, collaboration with Björk was the most James Bond non Bond song I had ever heard. I couldn’t help but think he had his sights set on scoring Bond.
Video: Björk & David Arnold -  Play Dead directed by Danny Cannon

 He went on to great success with a variety of projects (Independence Day , Stargate,  Godzilla, Zoolander, Shaft, The Chronicles of Narnia,  Hot Fuzz, Paul,Sherlock, etc.) but back in 1995 he started creating the Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project.

In 1997 saw a small review for Shaken and Stirred in a magazine and immediately placed an order for the CD, almost instantaneously 3 weeks later it was imported into South Africa, cleared customs and I had it in my hands. If CDs could be played out my copy of Shaken and Stirred which in many respects was a tonal equivalent of Skyfall -  respectful to its roots but bringing into the modern age.

Video: Propellerheads & David Arnold. On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Shaken and Stirred seemed a completely organic progression for me and there was no doubt in my mind that Arnold was going for Bond, clearly it was one of his dreams to score Bond.

As legend has it the great John Barry enjoyed the album so much that he recommended Arnold to score the next James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. In fact Arnold had already been selected to   score the film when John Barry added his stamp of approval.

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David Arnold went on to score 4 more Bonds: The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Amongst his many accolades David Arnold has been nominated twice for a BAFTA including Best Original Film Music in 2007 for Casino Royale. Sadly Arnold did not score Skyfall that honour went to Thomas Newman who won an EE BAFTA for Best Original Film Music with Skyfall.

I liked Eric Serra's kinetic and deep liquid style Bond music but I have to say I always felt that David Arnold's music for Bond always felt like it was ahead of its time and the films only caught up with Casino Royale. In the clip below from The Music of 007 David Arnold discusses some interesting bits at 15:49 about scoring his first Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.

Video: The Music of 007 - Documentary

Purportedly Thomas Newman came into the Bond fold along with Sam Mendes and they seem to have a tight working relationship which Skyfall benefited from. As I have said before I enjoyed Thomas Newman’s score for Skyfall and creating a musical atmosphere for a Bond film has to be challenging so really chuffed that he took home a BAFTA for his score - but I really hope that David Arnold back in the Bond seat as clearly the man was born for the role and for me is as synonymous with 007's music as Monty Norman and the legendary John Barry are.

I caught up with David Arnold and his chin & tie (watch the video to see what I mean) and asked him a couple of questions, he was not listed as an attendee on our sheet so this was a very impromptu chat in which he dazzles us with his wit.

I apologize in advance for the shoddy camera work, sound and my rather missed opportunity lame questions but between the freezing cold and rain I was trying to protect my camera. Also I have removed the jokes from the clip as they were sure to end with someone in court.

Secondly can I say Apologies Mr Arnold - Congratulation on the Olympic ceremonies something I neglected to say on the evening at the time.


Craig Grobler:  What did you think of this year’s nominations for the EE BAFTA Best Original Music?

David Arnold
I think they are all brilliant. They are brilliant - that’s why they have been nominated.

Craig Grobler:  What did you think about the Skyfall soundtrack?

David Arnold
I love it. I have loved Tom Newman’s work for a long time anyway. I was really excited - as I have been doing it since 1997 - so it was great to be able to just walk in and watch a film for the first time in a long time as an audience member. And just enjoy it for what is was. I love what he does and think he is amazing.

Craig Grobler:  Do you think we’ll hear you back in the Bond seat again?

David Arnold
Well, I have always said that if they ask me I’ll come back. If they don’t I’ll carry on doing what I do the rest of the time. I’ll always be happy to come back I love Barbara, I love Michael and I love the character and I love the movies I always have. 

So I would be delighted if they asked. If they don’t I have had the greatest time of my life with them anyway.

Craig Grobler:  Are there any Directors you are still keen to work with?

David Arnold
I tend not to be as worried about Directors as much as about the film.  I would rather work on a film that I think is exciting rather than necessarily a particular Director.  But then again if it is someone like Paul Thomas Anderson or David O. Russell that consistently makes intriguing and brilliant work. And it is unlikely that they are going to make a dud. 

Sometimes you see a script and you think it is amazing and it might be from a Director you have never heard of or worked with before. I just think that if something’s exciting and gets you going. 

Craig Grobler:  What is your favourite choice for the EE BAFTA Best Film of the year?

David Arnold
Life Of Pi. I think I liked Life Of Pi. I thought that was an absolutely staggeringly beautiful film. I saw it in 3D and thought it was the best 3D I have seen.  I thought it was a film about something and I really like films about...  something.  Not that the others nominated aren’t but Life Of Pi just resonated with me a little more for some reason.

Craig Grobler:  Thank you Mr Arnold. I appreciate your time.

Davis Arnold can be heard next in the West End when he brings his Made In Dagenham musical to the stage starring Gemma Arterton.


Shaken not Stirred
Craig is a retired superhero, an obsessive hobbyist, comics fan, gadget lover & flâneur who knows an unhealthy amount about Ian Fleming's James Bond.

When not watching or making films he takes pictures, eats, drinks, dives, tries to connect to nature whilst mentally storyboarding the greatest film ever made. He also  & sometimes utilises owl-themed gadgets to fight crime. 

A list of his 133 favourite films can be found hereIf you would still like to contact Craig please use any of the buttons below: 

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